GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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August 5, 2013

State House Speaker vows he's not leaving

BOSTON — Snuffing out rumors that he may be leaving for a new job, state House Speaker Robert DeLeo said he believes that Gov. Deval Patrick would make a “great candidate” for president of the United States and suggested that consideration should be given to moving former his former ally, disgraced former Speaker Sal DiMasi, to a prison facility in Massachusetts.

During a 13-minute interview with Jim Braude on New England Cable News, DeLeo also touched on his fight with Patrick over tax hikes, efforts to raise the minimum wage, proposals to overhaul laws governing civil sex abuse cases, the slowly developing power shift in the state Senate, the future of tolling in Massachusetts, and his feelings about a federal probe into a patronage scandal at the probation department with ties to the state Legislature.

Here are some highlights:

DeLeo stomped on recent rumors that he may be eyeing a new job soon. “They’ve been talking about my leaving since 2009. I’m not going anywhere. I’m already starting working on the fall agenda and getting ready to go. We’ve got another year and a half ahead of us. We’ve got things to accomplish.”

Gov. Patrick would be a “great candidate” for president of the United States, DeLeo said. “I think that, I’ve often talked to him actually about being a great candidate for president. He says he wants to go into the private sector and then he’ll decide from there.” Patrick has “never said never” to DeLeo about the idea of running for president, DeLeo said.

Asked whether he’d done anything to help secure “compassionate treatment” for former House Speaker Sal DiMasi, who is reportedly fighting cancer in a North Carolina prison hospital while serving an eight-year prison sentence on a public corruption conviction, DeLeo said he had not. “I don’t know what I could do as Speaker in terms of helping him,” DeLeo said. He said he was “not sure” about urging President Barack Obama to commute DiMasi’s sentence, but suggested that moving him to a facility in Devens makes sense for DiMasi and his family.

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